Orange Chicken Bowls with Broccoli Rice

4.83 from 29 votes
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These orange chicken bowls with broccoli rice are a gluten-free meal loaded with sweet and spicy flavors. The chicken is baked instead of fried for a healthier meal.

For more Asian-inspired recipes, check out: shrimp stir fry, chicken lettuce wraps, and pad Thai.

Bowl of sliced orange chicken with broccoli rice.

Orange chicken is one of the most popular dishes to order at a Chinese restaurant. Who doesn’t enjoy tender pieces of meat tossed in a sweet and tangy sauce? This version takes on a healthier spin, using gluten-free and paleo ingredients for a wholesome, satisfying meal.

The chicken marinates in a mandarin orange sauce loaded with bold, spicy Asian flavors that coat the meat. Instead of deep frying, the smaller bites of lean chicken breast are roasted in the oven with the sauce. For those looking for a grain-free side dish option, steamed broccoli rice accompanies the meat for a delicious protein and vegetable-packed meal all in one bowl.

“Made this dish for dinner and it was full of flavour. The family absolutely loved it!”—Kimberly

Recipe inspired by

Nourishing Superfood Bowls cookbook by Lindsay Cotter.

This irresistible dish is from the mouth-watering cookbook Nourishing Superfood Bowls. Lindsay Cotter, founder of Cotter Crunch, shares gluten-free meals with a global flair. Her creativity and beautifully plated bowls make eating nutritious meals fun and inspiring. We met at a photography workshop several years ago and became fast friends, sharing a passion for nutrition and food science.

Recipe ingredients

  • Chicken: You’ll need 16 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breasts. It’s best to use two pieces for even cooking instead of a very large portion.
  • Marinade: A flavorful combination of oranges, chili sauce, lime, marmalade, salt, pepper, garlic, red onion, rice wine vinegar, olive oil, and tamari.
  • Broccoli: Purchase 1 pound of broccoli florets to make the low-carb rice.
  • Sesame: Sesame oil adds a savory roasted note to the broccoli rice. Sesame seeds further add an interesting taste.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Make the marinade

Food processor filled with chopped onions and mandarin oranges.
Homemade orange chicken sauce in a food processor.

Step 1: The marinade combines fresh mandarin oranges, spicy chili paste, tamari, lime juice, garlic, red onion, rice wine vinegar, and orange marmalade. I used only a tablespoon of chili paste because I’m a spicy food wimp, but double up if you want a strong kick!

All of the sauce ingredients get blended in a food processor until smooth. Olive oil is added to help thicken the sauce.

Marinate the chicken

Step 2: If needed, pat dry the poultry with paper towels. Marinate the chicken in the citrus solution for at least 20 minutes. I do this directly in the baking dish to pop it right into the oven afterward. You can toss the chicken in the mixture a day in advance. I like to do this for meal prep in a large resealable plastic bag or airtight container.

Bake the chicken

Baked chicken breast with Chinese orange sauce on top.

Step 3: Bake the chicken at 425ºF (218ºC). It will take about 20 to 25 minutes to cook fully. The thickest part of the breast should reach between 160 to 165ºF (71 to 74ºC). Broil in the last minute of cooking to concentrate the glaze. Check out that gorgeous coating on the chicken! The chicken breasts are juicy, tender, and ready to be devoured.

Make the broccoli rice

Step 4: I find it easier to add the florets to a food processor, chopping them down into tiny pieces. Toss them with some sesame oil, cover, and microwave. In less than a minute, the pieces will be steamed and tender. Season with salt and pepper, toss with sesame seeds for extra texture.

Chef’s Note: I’m sure you’ve heard or even tried cauliflower rice, but broccoli rice is also a game-changer! It’s an easy way to enjoy the cruciferous vegetable without it being so tedious to chew.

Serve the chicken bowls

Sliced chicken breast in a bowl with a Chinese orange sauce.

Step 5: Serve the tender broccoli rice with sliced chicken or the whole cutlet. I like to add a few slices of lime and oranges, cilantro, and red pepper flakes for an extra kick of heat. Feel free to drizzle each bowl with more delicious orange sauce from the bottom of the pan.

Flavor variations

  • Chicken: If you prefer dark meat, use boneless or bone-in chicken thighs. Bone-in chicken breasts can also be used. Adjust the time as needed to fully cook the meat.
  • Citrus: Orange juice can be substituted for the mandarin slices. Instead of orange marmalade, try apricot or pineapple jam or preserves.
  • Tamari: Gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos can be used instead of tamari.
  • Spice: Instead of chili sauce, add Sriracha or Sambal Oelek.

Frequently asked questions

Can I make the recipe with chicken thighs?

Yes! Chicken thighs contain more fat, making the meat less lean but very flavorful. Adjust the cooking time needed; boneless thighs cook faster than bone in. You want the internal temperature to reach between 170 to 175 degrees.

Can I make the chicken crispy?

The chicken can be cut into smaller pieces, then coated in a flour mixture or cornstarch, then deep-fried or air-fried for a healthier alternative. I would reduce the marinade to medium heat until thickened, then toss it with the crispy chicken pieces.

Benefits of marinating chicken

Marinating lean pieces of chicken breast has numerous advantages—the glutamates in the tamari sauce help to enhance the meaty flavor. The salt changes the structure of the meat proteins and helps the meat to be juicier. The acid from lime juice and the vinegar tenderizes the chicken more quickly. However, you do not want to let it sit too long, or the texture could negatively be impacted.

Orange Chicken and Broccoli Rice Bowls

Orange chicken and broccoli rice bowls are a gluten-free meal loaded with sweet and savory spicy flavors.
4.83 from 29 votes
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Course Entree
Cuisine Asian

Ingredients 
 

  • cup peeled mandarin oranges
  • 1 tablespoon chili sauce, or Sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons gluten-freee tamari
  • 16 ounces boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1 pound broccoli florets
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeeds

Instructions 

  • Make the Marinade – To a food processor or blender, process the orange slices, chili sauce, lime juice, orange marmalade, salt, pepper, garlic, red onion, and rice wine vinegar until thoroughly mixed. Add the olive oil and tamari and mix until creamy.
  • Marinate the Chicken – Add the chicken pieces to a casserole dish and pour the marinade over the chicken. Marinate for at least 20 minutes. Cover and refrigerate if not cooking within that time.
  • Bake – Preheat the oven to 425ºF (218ºC). Bake the chicken for 20 to 25 minutes. Set the oven to broil for the last minute of cooking.
  • Make the Broccoli Rice – Add the florets to a food processor and pulse until small pieces are formed. Add the broccoli rice to a microwave-safe bowl. Add the sesame oil and stir to combine. Cover and cook in the microwave for 45 seconds. It should be steamed; add more time as needed. Add the sesame seeds to the rice. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • To Serve – Equally divide the broccoli rice among serving bowls, then add the chicken.

Notes

  • Suggested Toppings: Lime slices, orange slices, crushed red chili pepper flakes, cilantro, tamari.
  • Storing: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 4 servings
Calories 345kcal (17%)Carbohydrates 19g (6%)Protein 32g (64%)Fat 18g (28%)Saturated Fat 2g (10%)Polyunsaturated Fat 3gMonounsaturated Fat 11gCholesterol 76mg (25%)Sodium 908mg (38%)Potassium 264mg (8%)Fiber 4g (16%)Sugar 10g (11%)Vitamin A 1.5IUVitamin C 71.8mg (87%)Calcium 40mg (4%)Iron 1.8mg (10%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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11 Comments Leave a comment or review

  1. Lindsay Cotter says

    Thank you friend! Truly! I cannot wait to get your copy of your cookbook. I know it’s going to knock it out of the park! You were (are) a major inspiration in my life.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      It’s my pleasure Lindsay! The family loved it and I will be adding the recipe to the weekly rotation. The sauce is so dreamy 🙂 Girl, you inspire me everyday!

  2. natalie says

    could I make this with seasoned rice vinegar and coconut aminos instead of tamari? That’s what I have on hand and my daughter can’t have soy.

  3. Ana says

    If I make this without the chili will it change the flavor much? I want to make this for my 10 year old twins but they won’t eat anything spicy!